NEW YORK – This year, if you call Butterball’s Turkey Talk Line for some turkey advice, you might get a male voice on the line.
For the first time, Butterball is enlisting the help of men along with women for its Turkey Talk cooking-advice line during the holidays. And the turkey seller is seeking the first male talk-line spokesman this year, as well.
The talk line, which is 32 years old, has long offered advice to anyone overwhelmed by making a perfect holiday turkey.
It has been improving its services, last year launching a smartphone application, Facebook live chats, Pinterest posts and other social media tools.
But the talk line, which has grown from six operators to about 60 since it launched in 1981, has never hired men before. The company says that it wasn’t intentionally excluding men but that it usually relied on word-of-mouth to hire its talk line operators. As a result, its hires were always women.
Now it’s taking a more active approach.
“It’s the perfect time, because we have seen more and more men involved in Thanksgiving dinner,” said Mary Clingman, director of the talk line. When the line started, only about 9 percent of calls that came in were from men. But now, she says, about 1 in 4 calls are from men.
Butterball, based in Garner, N.C., will offer an online app – via its Facebook page – for men 25 and older to apply for work at the talk line. A job as a spokesman, working on the talk line and also offering turkey tips via media appearances, can be based anywhere, but a hotline operator should live near the line’s home base of Chicago. The online app will be available until Oct. 20.
Most operators have a background in food or nutrition and have culinary degrees or are dietitians, food stylists or scientists. They take a crash course in turkey-making at Butterball University, as well.
But the main requirement, Clingman says, is that “you have to want to help people.”